Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) continues to advance mental healthcare in Qatar with the expansion of programmes for improving the support available to patients with moderate to severe mental healthcare needs.
“We recognise the growing need for mental healthcare and support in Qatar, and have pledged to further expand the service this year after an increase in investment in 2017,” said Mahmoud al-Raisi, chief of continuing care, HMC.
HMC’s mental healthcare hospital facilities have undergone improvements in the last year, including facility and service expansions and refurbishments. Last year, an additional 12 mental health beds for male patients were opened and an additional five residential beds for long-term male patients have been added to the service.
There are plans to open a further acute care facility for female patients during 2018, which will temporarily replace the female ward in the existing facility and allow renovation work to take place.
Plans are in place to enhance and expand the facility in Muntazah. Expected to be completed in two years, the expansion will deliver a total of 100 beds and new activity space, alongside facilities for outpatient services, education and training.
Community-based mental health facilities located in West Doha currently provide support to residents who do not require hospitalisation but need further support; these facilities also care for individuals who have been discharged from hospital but still require specialised support. Additionally, Al Wakra Hospital operates a community-based mental healthcare service and provides home visits. This service will be further expanded in 2018 and additional community services are set to be established to serve the whole country in the coming two years.
Al-Raisi explained that in addition to enhancing and expanding mental health facilities and increasing the number of available beds, HMC is also working to expand the number of staff caring for mental health patients.
“The demand for HMC’s mental health services is high and continues to rise. As a result, we have increased our workforce in 2017 by 24%; from 325 to 403 staff across HMC facilities, including staff who function as part of mental health liaison teams providing important services to most of our general and specialist hospitals,” said al-Raisi.
Iain Tulley, CEO of HMC’s Mental Health Service, said: “We are working to develop a number of partnerships to facilitate easier access to mental health care in the community and support the great work being done by the community-based clinics. For instance, by working more closely with HMC’s Mobile Doctor Service, physicians now provide physical health checks for adults within the community who have mild to moderate mental health problems.”